I am charged with a class "A" misdemeanor, second degree theft. This is my first offense and I am not a minor. I am terrified. What is the general sentencing? I know that the fine can be no more than $6,500 and jail time is up to a year. What typically steers the judge to send someone to jail? And will I have this on my record for the rest of my life?
Outcomes in criminal cases vary enormously from one case to the next.
One factor will be the strength of the evidence against you. Another factor will be the attitude of the victim. Another factor will be the skill of your defense attorney. It is impossible to generalize.
Multnomah county has a program in the community court for first time offenders, by which the defendant can earn dismissal of the criminal charge by performing some community service. Another way to accomplish dismissal of a criminal charge like this is to work out a civil compromise with the victim.
You should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Do not post information about your case online. What you post about your case can be read by the police, prosecutors, and others who do not have your best interests at heart.
Many defense attorneys offer free and confidential initial consultations. Contact a defense attorney immediately. There is much that can be done to minimize the damage.
Even with the information you have provided, the results vary too much to be able to answer your question. I urge you to consult with a criminal defense attorney about the specifics of your case. It is best to do this before your first court date. Your attorney can work with you on gathering information and documentation that may be helpful at sentencing. If there are other issues that contributed to your being in this situation, your lawyer can work with you to address any underlying issues so that this doesn't happen again. Meanwhile, do not talk with anyone about the facts of the case. Good luck.
It depends. Some jurisdictions have a theft diversion program, where successful completion of a program results in dismissal of the charges (but an arrest/citation for theft will still show on your record). If you stay out of trouble, you can potentially have the arrest/conviction expunged after 3 years.
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